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CPS Proposes Budget With $269 Million From Unnamed ‘Local Sources’

Chicago Public Schools released a $5.75 billion budget Friday that relies on $269 million in money from unnamed “local sources.”

City and school district officials refused to provide details on the local source, saying there are many options for where the money can come from. 

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool acknowledged that the budget is full of uncertainty and called it more of a framework than a spending plan. Claypool noted the school district was compelled by state law to release a plan.

The Chicago Board of Education is set to consider the plan on Aug. 28 — two days before a state law requires CPS to release its annual budget. 

The school district is expecting about 8,000 fewer students and has budgeted for 420 fewer teacher positions and 144 fewer school support staff jobs. Yet the operational budget is $300 million more than last year, with a lot of the additional expected revenue going toward teacher pensions and debt payments. 

CPS’ budget also counts on a $300 million increase in revenue from the state, which is currently locked in a stalemate that threatens the distribution of the vast majority of education money to all districts in Illinois, including CPS. 

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“We are not in the position to talk about local options until Springfield has lived up to its responsibility to fund schools and appropriated funds for schools,” Claypool told reporters Friday.

Matt Fabian, an analyst at a research and credit firm called Municipal Market Advisors, said investors have been expecting the city to help CPS. 

“It is positive in that it diminishes CPS’ reliance a little on the state going forward, which is important because the state has been unreliable in the past,” he said. “It opens up a closer relationship between the school district and the city, which, given (the school district’s) struggles, could only be a good thing going forward.”

Tim Holler